Let’s it out of the way right now: Yes Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a Super Smash Bros. clone. There. The obvious has been stated. However, it does have its unique intricacies to make it stand out from Nintendo’s juggernaut. Each character has a diverse arsenal of attacks delegated to each face button of your controller. You can also use a block action allowing you to hold off a few attacks.
To do a bit of combo variation, pushing the joystick in one direction along with a face button allows you to create a wide diversity of attacks and you can also manage to pull off a few combos. The game also offers a deep roster of characters from a handful of Nickelodeon’s portfolio such as Spongebob, Jimmy Neutron, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ren & Stimpy; just to name a few. There’s something for everyone.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 also offers enough bang for your buck in terms of gameplay content. While there’s the obvious battle mode where you can play with friends or against the A.I., you can tackle a Story mode, and various other Solo mode such as Arcade, Boss Rush, Minigames (Whack-A-Bot and Pop the Slime balloons) and Dojo where you can practice your skills… which will be beneficial in the long run given how fast paced and brutal matches can end up.
Story features a multi-path affair where you’ll often be able to decide which objective to tackle. You can either go head-to-head with a set number of cronies, fight a Mind controlled character (win and you’ll unlock them), rest station to get back some health; or any of the multiple Nickelodeon NPCs that will grant you battle bonuses such as fast Charge attacks or projectiles can follow enemies. Back at the hub, depending on the character setup, you can buy additional perks. Personally, I went with the Brawler type so using the collecting green ooze and purple goo, I was able to get perk for a 10% movement speed boost which can also be upgraded to level 3. As collect enough ooze, you can unlock additional perk slots and equip multiple ones at once. The more you upgrade them, the more expensive they get.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 looks great; it’s a bright and colorful affair given the source material of kids show. Every character is well designed and faithful to their cartoon counterparts. Battlegrounds are also very diverse and based on the tv shows. Some will even have obstacle or platforms popping; one of the Avatar inspired levels will have a wooden dragon coming from each side shooting fire and causing damage to anything in their path. On the audio side of things, akin to the visuals, it’s faithful to the shows. Quite forgettable, but younger players familiar with the source material will easily recognize their favorite characters’ voice.
One of the frustrating issue is how the story mode is designed. First off, your health doesn’t auto regenerate between levels (imagine if MK or SF did this…) adding an unnecessary level of difficulty (even on the easiest setting) and frustration. There are certain areas where you can regenerate some health (and some health items during battles), it still makes annoyingly frustrating because if you go head-to-head with possessed enemies, they can end you in ONE hit, booting your ass back to the hub forcing you to start over.
The other issue is that while the game does have a surprisingly deep combat system for this type of game, it’s way too easy to mash the strong attack non stop and just win. While bosses are a bit more problematic, battles with friends or newcomers might just end up being a festival of button mashing. Additionally, you can’t use the d-pad to play and the joystick control feels… off; not as tight and responsive as it should be for a fighter.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is the closest to a party fighting game à la Smash Bros that Xbox players will get; while not as polished as Nintendo’s juggernaut, it has its own unique appeal. The game offers frantic action when playing battle mode with friends and/or online. The solo mode content, while a bit shallow, will keep players of all games busy. But Gamemill Entertainment completely missed the shot with the abysmal Story mode where players sees little to no progress; but unlocking characters is oh so satisfying (this mechanic needs to make a comeback and overtake DLC). Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a great party game, but the solo content is shallow and frustrating. Gather some friends and beat the living out of each other (in-game).
- Great cast of characters
- Closest thing Xbox players will get to Smash
- Surprisingly deep combat
- The Story mode is a clusterfuck
- Can’t use the d-pad
- Too easy to spam strong attacks